Here we go again…

Hosea 14:3b says, “For in you the fatherless finds mercy.”

Psalm 82:3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Right here. This is why we find ourselves back in the throws of foster care. It is certainly not for everyone. It is hard. It is tiring. It is unpredictable. It requires much patience and flexibility. And it certainly doesn’t make sense to most people – or even ourselves at times.

We’ve told people that the only word to describe why we are here…taking in a baby in foster care, after such a hard loss in the past; so much grief that our family had to work walk through and trusting that God’s ways were NOT our ways…and that word is assnine. We know. And we’ve had the questions that go something like this:

“Why would you do that to yourselves again?”

“How are your kids doing?”

“Aren’t you afraid of the same thing happening?”

In a nutshell, BECAUSE WE STILL FEEL GOD CALLING US HERE. We took 2 years to heal, to work through our anger, our grief, our loss. We adopted Jo – which was the best healing balm EVER for everyone. We named her Josephine Joy for a reason. “May the Lord increase in Joy”, is what her name means, and God has done that abundantly in our hearts and lives through her smile, goofiness, big chocolate eyes that twinkle and a personality that just makes your heart feel lighter.

So, here we are. With a newborn from the hospital that needs a mommy and daddy desperately. Being kept up at all hours of the night with feedings, having CASAs, lawyers, caseworkers and SSA’s at my home, running to and from medical appointments and court…and loving every minute of it. When I walked into that hospital, in the NICU to get “my” baby, I picked him up, gave him a kiss and said to myself, “This is what I was made to do.” Yes, we will get attached. Yes, it will be hard when he {may} have to leave someday, but it was what WE were made to do. I am thankful that Tad feels just as called to this as I do and loves these babies, as he goes off to work with bloodshot eyes from being kept up all night.

The honest truth is that we don’t do this because it makes us feel good; simply because we love babies. We do this because God calls us to love the orphan, defend the fatherless and live out justice. And that my friends, is not easy or pain free, but it’s not about us. It’s about the child, the orphan. We are willing to invite pain into our lives because living in a pain free world isn’t what God has called us to. Rather it is in pain and sacrifice where we truly feel the presence of God, where we NEED Him daily – I don’t want to not need God. Ever. I don’t want to be so comfortable that I don’t need Him because I can do life on my own. I hope that makes sense. It’s not that we LOVE pain and suffering. We don’t. But wisdom tells us that pain and suffering is where we grow the most; closer to God and deeper in our walk with Jesus. And THAT is what we want.

And as far as our kids go? They all LOVE having a baby in the house again. They are constantly picking him up, kissing him, loving on him. It’s just in their DNA and YES, they know that they may get attached and that he may leave again…but they’ve walked this path before and they get it. They understand that just because it might hurt doesn’t mean that we don’t do what God has called our family to do.

And on that note…please don’t read this and feel judgement from me, or guilt…this is just what WE are called to do. We don’t expect everyone to live out this life that we do; we know everyone is called to something different and unique. What are you called to in this life?

Show and Tell

You are remember this day, right? When you get to bring your most prized possession to school and show your classmates what you think is special? Ruby’s day was Friday and she could not wait to bring in her baby sister.

“Are you sure?”, I questioned, because Jo had already visited the classroom on Halloween and the kids all met her then. “Yep”, she replies.

So we head into school and Jo was oh-so-happy to be walking on the sidewalk in freedom. We sign in and put the volunteer lanyard around her neck (she loves necklaces) and head up to the class.

**all iPhone images…

IMG_0658There’s something about being the baby of the family and loving attention from everyone in the room. This girl turned on her charm, smiled at the teacher, went around giving everyone “five” and had the class in fits of giggles the whole time.

IMG_0661Ruby got to explain that we adopted her from Oregon and how excited she was to meet her that first day we brought her home from the hospital…and that gave another girl in the class a chance to talk about being in Foster Care and how they are kind of alike. Kind of.

IMG_0662I’m so proud that big sister is so proud of little sister. That of all her treasured possessions, Jo is the most treasured of all.

IMG_0663

The girl is ONE!

Jo is a bundle of JOY. That’s all there is to it. She’s full of energy, smiles, giggling and loves to growl at people and animals. She spends her time getting into things…like toilet water, art drawers, her new car, mom’s purse. The girl loves her food and says, “mmm mmm”, while scarfing her meal.

One year old birthday cake

A HUGE thanks to Michelle Rubio for making this UH-mazing cake for us! I asked her to “make a cake that had pink on it” and this is what I got. Over the top!

2013-10-02_0002

You never quite know what a one-year-old’s reaction will be to 20+ people staring at her, encouraging her to “blow out a candle”, and make a mess of her cake. But Jo was the star of the night and pretty much gave everyone a show.

2013-10-02_0003

She even showed enthusiasm for a her presents. The xylophone and electric guitar were the hit of the night. 2013-10-02_0004We truly thank God for this little girl – that He CHOSE us to be her parents. We couldn’t have asked for a better gift. Ever.

When God Says No

I have meaning to get this post out for the last week and for many legitimate reasons (I could spend and hour typing them all out) it just didn’t happen.

My apologies (for taking this long to send the answer) and my thanks to those of you that have prayed for our family for the last few weeks! God has indeed answered our prayers and His answer was a “no” this time.

Are we sad? Nope. Are we disappointed? Nope. We are glad for clear direction. We are glad that this little 13 year old girl had so many people want her that her parents could choose just the perfect home for her!

We trust in the Lord and are relieved to let Him lead our path. There is so much freedom in this…freedom to walk through doors that may seem scary or unknown because we know our God is directing our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). And we look forward to what God may bring this year in our family because we know that our future and hope are in Him, (Jer. 29:11) and that is always an exciting adventure.

 

 

So loved…

Today was a big day for Josie. She got to meet her biological siblings, Katie and Miguel. {They didn’t get to meet her at the hospital because they were sick at home with fevers the day she was born.}

Katie has been waiting for so long for this day…and such a bittersweet day for her. To meet her, hold her and then have to say goodbye once more… She was the first to hold Josie today and just beamed the entire time. It’s troubling to be 10 and to try to understand the why’s of adoption, not resent the people that “took” her baby sister, and be heavy-hearted in between the sparse yearly visits. Pray for Katie when you think of her. She was near tears on the way home. We know this pain all to well and know that this is something she will be working through for the rest of her life. There are SO many bitter sweet aspects of adoption. We grieve for this girl.

DSC_0310Katie not only had a sweet time of bonding with Josie, but also playing hard with Max, Mitch and Ruby for a few hours. Miguel, who’s just one and a half, automatically latched on to Kayla and played with her in the play area for practically the whole time.

DSC_0313Our kids did so good taking a step back and letting Katie, Miguel, Peggy and “grandma” hold, cuddle and feed Josie. We were proud of them for sharing their sister with her other siblings.

DSC_0318Peggy just amazes me. She’s so humble, so sweet and so giving…She loves Josie, and yet is so happy that she’s with us. I’m so glad we could have this open relationship with her…openness scares a lot of people, but I think the less secrets there are, the healthier we can all be. DSC_0319 DSC_0321DSC_0312Josie will grow up knowing that she has another family that love and adore her. She will know without a doubt that she is doubly blessed, doubly loved and that she was CHOSEN.

It was a blessed day. Thank you Lord.

Day 14 the power of a good movie

Last night we went to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Yes, I know it’s an “old” movie…but people…this family doesn’t go to the theater till it hits the {cheap theater}.

I was warned by my “author friend” {click on the link to read her review of the movie} as I so often refer to her, otherwise known as Christina, that I may very well sob my eyes out at the end of the movie, looking like a blubbering fool in public. {ok, I added the “fool” part}

{By the way, this is a great place for me to tell you to go buy her amazing, first novel that you won’t be able to put down, The Familiar Stranger.}

I so easily get on little rabbit trails today!

Back to the movie. I’m thankful for it. Even though this is obviously a story that could never happen in “real” life…it really could happen in real life. It’s about adoption. It’s about pouring your life into others. It’s about being able to let go of what you love the most.

{if you’ve seen this movie, you understand the leaf pictures…if not, go watch the movie 🙂 )

Timothy Green comes into this family’s life for a season. He touches the lives of so many people…and in a profound way for each of them. He leaves (no pun intended) them all better people, more compassionate people, more loving people than he came to them.

He is one of those people that will always have a special place in so many people’s hearts…simply because he was honest, loving and saw people at a heart level…beyond the surface.

I’m thankful for movies that provoke you to be a better friend, a better parent; movies that touch you at a heart level and cause tears to stream down your face.

Yes, just tears streaming…no sobbing for this mama. I sat through this movie with my family next to me…Josie in my arms sleeping…and thanked God for helping us to let go of what we loved so dearly last year and for opening our hearts to what He had for us this year.

{We never know when the last proverbial leaf will fall…live life to it’s fullest.}

A beautiful little girl who needed a family to love her. And a family who needed a little girl to love.

Day 10…our agency

“Our” agency…like they are my PERSONAL agency.

I’m talking about Christian Family Adoptions Agency here in Portland.

They were the only agency that would work with our “too large” of a family.

They believed us when we said that we felt it was the Lord calling us to adopt.

They agreed with us that there must be a baby out there that was supposed to have our last name.

And they were right. And I’m thankful they were right.

Today we went to CFA’s adoptive parent training and sat on the adoptive families panel with all 5 of our children. We got to share our story with couples who are in the process of adopting, share our hope with couples that if you feel God calling you to adopt then have faith to keep going.

We drove an hour and a half to sit on the panel for 40 minutes. They didn’t pay us.
It was just our way of being THANKFUL and giving back to the agency that believed in us and helped us find our forever Josie.

{Just had to include this pic…I have no idea what I’m saying, I just love the expression on Tad’s face about whatever I’m sharing. Priceless.}

 

A Month of Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is absolutely my FAVORITE holiday of the year, bar none. Yep.

No presents.

No pre-Thanksgiving activities that require a ton of running around.

No costumes.

No cards to write.

Just being Thankful and focusing on all that we ALREADY have and not what we want.

So, in light of all that…I choose to be extra thankful this month. If you subscribe to this blog you get to read my daily posts (at least I hope I can be that consistent with my posts!) and hopefully it will remind you to be extra thankful too.

This blog in particular is for my own kids. I have 5 children that I want to pass down a Godly legacy to. I want them to know truly what I was about and I’m about being THANKFUL!!…even though they may roll their eyes now and think I’m a little crazy. They’ll appreciate this when they’re older, right?

Anyhoo.

Day 1 – I’m thankful for the gift of adoption and the blessing it has been to our family this last month. Our little Josie is a beautiful gift from the Lord and in fact her name means, “the Lord will increase in JOY”. Every adoption is truly a miracle and ours was no exception. She is perfect for us and we are so glad to be her forever family.

I would love to hear what you are thankful for too. Leave me a comment and share!

It’s official

Well, true to “hospital time”, the signing didn’t quite take place at 9:30am…but close :)Everything went without a hitch and we are now officially her parents (legal guardians until the finalization of the adoption in a few months). She’s a true Raichart now and we can’t wait to come home and introduce her to her siblings who are just dying to meet her!

Now we have to hang at the hospital until tomorrow morning for discharge of baby. She has to stay for 48 hours because she is considered high risk because of her delivery and the fact that birth mom didn’t get the group B srep antibiotic before delivery. Everything looks good though – just precautionary.

Thank you Jesus!

Josephine Joy’s Arrival!

Normal? You know us Raicharts don’t do normal very well 🙂 Little Josie’s arrival into this world was anything but normal!

Here’s her birth story:

At about 8pm last night her birth mom felt like she needed to head to the hospital, so she did. After walking the halls for a bit, getting monitored (on a machine that was “having a little trouble”) the Dr. sent her home against her will. She knew she needed to stay and they said, “We’re too full and you’re not far enough along.”

So, home she went. And just 3 hours after getting sent home, she went into full blown labor. She screamed to the neighbor for help but wasn’t heard, even though her window was open. She then crawled her way, across her bedroom, to the phone and dialed 911. They came quickly to help…well except for having to knock down her door because it was locked…but came too late.

She had delivered Josie on her bedroom floor already. The cord was wrapped around her neck, so she quickly unwrapped it and baby Josephine was perfectly healthy!

Both birth mom and baby were delivered safely to the hospital and at about 6am we got the call that we had a baby waiting for us and could we come as soon as possible!

It’s a pretty crazy way to wake up 🙂

I told the adoption worker that I had had a dream twice that we would miss the birth. She was more surprised than we were that we missed it. So, just as Tad is getting to work and getting all set up for the day, I call him and say, “Come home now! We gotta get a baby!”

(Josie with her adoption worker, Gayle)

Funny thing is, when he left at 5am he said, “This would be a really good time to call and say there was a baby”. I said, “Bye honey”, and went back to sleep 🙂

So, by 6:40 he was back home, our kids were all awake and grandma was at our house ready to take over!

We drove the long hour and a half….funny thing, I think it was supposed to take 2 hours! LOL….and we both were pretty much a ball of nerves.

Joyful? Yep, this was going to be OUR baby!!!

Scared? Yep, we’ve never done the adoption “thing”.

Sad? Yep, for birth mom.

Worried? Yep, there are still papers to sign.

It was a long drive.

We get to the hospital and of course have no idea where we’re going. So naturally, we walk up to the Cardiac Unit desk and ask directions. “Why do you want the labor and delivery floor?, she asks. “We’re the adoptive parents and our baby is waiting for us!”, we reply.

“What!? Oh I will just escort you there, it’s a long way and I don’t want you getting lost!” So, together with a very nice office assistant, we found our way to the 4th floor.

And ever so apprehensively we knock on the door….to find our beautiful baby girl waiting for us.

But before we pick her up, we first ask birth mom to share her story, to thank her for the amazing gift of life and share a small token of our thanks with her.

Talk about the full range of emotions! Whew! Praising God for a healthy, beautiful baby that He knew before the beginning of time would be a Raichart.

ps – the signing of legal papers happens tomorrow at 9:30am